Consumption of Sweetkick, a sugar control mint based on Gymnema sylvestre (GS) leaf extract, lowered test participants’ desire to continue consuming chocolate, according to a new Nutrients-published study. The researchers found that the Ayurvedic plant’s gymnemic acids selectively suppressed taste responses to sweet compounds without affecting the perception of other taste elements. This research provides a natural means of sugar consumption control amid a global push to reformulate foods that reduce sugar while tackling obesity issues.
“If you hide sugar and if that behavior is fueled by feelings of shame, that’s [a] sign that you might have a sugar problem. The end goal is for us to be more sensitive to sweetness so that we don’t need so much of it to be satisfied,” says Sweetkick Co-Founder Harley Pasternak.
The study authors found that participants ate 21 percent fewer servings of their favorite chocolate after consuming a GS-containing mint compared to a placebo. “Furthermore, those who self-identified as having a ‘sweet tooth’ had a greater reduction in both the pleasantness of eating high-sugar sweet foods and desire to eat more after consuming the GS mint compared to those who do not,” they write.
Fifty-six participating healthy adults (64.3 percent women) were given a placebo mint on their first test visit and a Sweetkick mint on their second visit seven days later. The participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire and then were offered a piece of chocolate. The total number of chocolate bars eaten at each lab visit decreased by 21.5 percent after consuming the Sweetkick mint versus the placebo.
Also, eating the Sweetkick mint resulted in a 23 percent decrease in desire to eat high-sugar sweet foods and 31 percent reduced pleasantness of high-sugar sweet foods eaten but did not affect hunger, as reported in another questionnaire.
Getting a kick out of sweetness
The Sweetkick mints include 4 mg of GS and 5 mg of chicory root inulin per single mint serving. Other ingredients include sorbitol, natural and artificial flavor, magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide. Nu Brands recommends taking Sweetkick thrice daily when cravings strike to suppress the taste of sweetness from sugary snacks. Meanwhile, the chicory fiber inulin is an “excellent source of prebiotic fiber supporting healthy digestion.” The short ingredients list guarantees a fully vegan, vitamin-rich product.
The benefits of a “life without sugar” are ample, Nu Brands highlights. Reducing dietary sugar can lead to weight loss, energy regulation and sleep improvement. Moreover, the skin is more prone to glow as sugar reduction simultaneously reduces inflammation that breaks down collagen and elastin. Heart function can be improved as lower blood pressure decreases the chance of heart disease. Those with dental care concerns can reduce their sugar intake also to reduce the acids that destroy essential minerals from tooth enamel.
The expected length of sweet taste suppression for one Sweetkick mint is 30 to 60 minutes, according to Nu Brands’ guidelines, the manufacturer of the GS mint. The researchers encourage further exploration of how the GS mint could be effective at altering sugar consumption habits if used to attenuate sugar cravings, similar to the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy to overcome a craving for a cigarette.
“It is important to bear in mind the real-world applicability of these products. People generally consume a range of sweet foods, not just chocolate. Future research is needed to determine how much of an impact gymnema-containing products may have on sweet foods consumed outside of a laboratory environment, as consumers’ eating habits vary significantly,” the study authors conclude.